Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week 75: On The Rise

Time is wearing thin and it's freaking me out a little bit.  As in, I don't know what happened to this week.  One minute, it's Transfer day, the next minute, it's a week later.  GAEQASPODHAL:FHLADFJKsd!#!!!!!!  It's okay.  Everything is fine.
We had a better week.  Nice that the holidays are over - as much as I love them, the people around here like to party so like holidays get in the way of missionary work.  But now things have calmed down and we're buckling down and getting serious.  Our recent district meeting was about recommitting to our purpose.  I feel like I've gotten more focused on my purpose than ever, or rather since I was a new missionary, now that I'm training.  I spend a lot of time and energy trying to teach my companion everything I learned in seventeen months, and it's really helping me focus as much as it's helping her learn.  So there's no better way to end a mission than by training a new one, in my opinion.  But despite the progress we've made as a district, it's time to bump it up another notch.  Which inspired my new theme of the moment:  On the rise.  Weird how that only is used to describe, like, crime.  Crime on the rise.  Evil on the rise.  Well guess what.  Now it's righteousness on the rise.  Brought to you by Slidell's full-time missionaries.

We got word that one of our recent converts is wanting to get into visiting teaching, and another may be made assistant to the ward mission leader - that or a ward missionary - very soon.  That's what I like to hear.  As for Lonnie though - as you heard in my voice recording message - his kiddo Junior is a little bit in a pickle with the law and just not where he was when we were teaching him and everything was great.  In my fast yesterday, I was praying that Lonnie's kids would both find their way to the same path he is on.  At the moment, that's one of the only things that I can see keeping him on the covenant path.  Like I've said before, for so many people I've met, it seems that their family is the biggest motivation for righteousness.  Which makes sense.  God put us in families for a reason.  We're here to help each other be eternal.
New Year's Eve in this part of town is not the ideal when you're a missionary and you want to go to sleep on time, because this happens to be a state where fireworks are legal and in the ghetto they just don't stop from like 9 to 12, constant popping explosions and zero sleep.  Unless your name is Sister Matealona and you clock out the moment you lay down.  However, earlier that day a little miracle happened, that shows me how God is truly in the details of our work.  If we had been there just a few minutes earlier or later, this exchange may not have occurred.  A less active saw us on the street as we were about to start tracting, and stopped us, even stopped her car to get out and talk to us - and this was a woman I'd heard didn't care a bit for the church anymore.  But instead, she told us her health had prevented her from having the sisters over in the past and she invited us over for New Year's Day dinner.  Apparently black eyed peas and cabbage is well-known tradition, it's supposed to bring good luck for the new year.  And her husband who's not really about organized religion at the moment, ended up being really fond of us.  Prob because we listened to his stories for 3 1/2 hours.  When we finally got a spiritual thought in there at the end, he started talking about looking at the fruits of a religion, like Jesus said to do about prophets, as in what kinda kids you'd want your kids to be friends with, what kind of people you'd trust in business, what kinda guys you'd want your daughters marrying.  "Mormons win," he said.  "By a long shot."  My optimism is taking that as a sign that his effectual door is opening.  We just have to jump in before it closes again.
Speaking of effectual door.  We taught one sister's nonmember husband the stop smoking program last week and he finishes tomorrow.  This is the one that has to have coffee every morning and tea every night and swore he'd be homicidal if he had to give up all that plus cigarettes at the same time.  Well, so far his wife's still alive and he's six days smoke-free.  And I think his heart is being softened and his door is cracking open too.  He smiles more than he used to.  This guy's on the rise for sure.

23 Awake, my sons [and daughters]; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.

Shake it off!  Rise up!  Do work!  All is well, my dear family (and friends).  Love you tons.

Sister Valdez


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